The director of the UN agency that supports Palestinians is calling for greater access for humanitarian aid to a besieged Palestinian camp in the Syrian capital where up to 18,000 people continue to live in desperate conditions.

The Yarmouk camp in Damascus has been under a government-imposed blockade for nearly two years. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, has been able to deliver intermittent aid shipments over that period, although not nearly enough to meet the needs of those trapped inside.

UNRWA director Pierre Krahenbuhl on Thursday appealed to armed groups that hold sway inside Yarmouk to allow civilians to reach aid distribution points safely. He also urged the government to improve access routes and allow predictable, regular and unhindered aid distributions.